“Interview” with Bret Michaels of Poison

Bret Michaels (sort of) talks dirty to RFT
By Jaime Lees
Published: February 13, 2008

Bret Michaels is a horny beast. Throughout his time as the lead singer and frontman of the classic hair-metal band Poison, this was a well-documented fact. He initially wooed women with a hyperactive stage personality — music videos showed him makin’ eyes and advances on wickedly dressed über-babes — but then he’d slow it down and aurally caress their lady-spot with smoothly strummed, sensual power ballads. With his tight clothes, vampy attitude and requisite rocker-length hair, he was quintessentially ’80s sex-on-a-stick. Similar to his perma-boner peers in Mötley Crüe, he seemed to have a thirst that only ‘tang would quench. Today, it seems as though not much has changed in the life of Bret Michaels. Though grunge came along some time in the early ’90s and made hair metal look like yesterday’s used condom, he released several fairly well-received solo albums and became a talking head on VH1. Through it all, he’s still a dude who aspires to rock — even if the hairline of his long blond hair is now strategically hidden under a doo-rag.

But being (potentially) follically challenged hasn’t exactly hurt Michaels’ game. He still has the enviable luxury of sitting back and letting the honeys just fall into his lap — quite literally, it seems. As the star and subject of the recent hit VH1 reality show Rock of Love, Michaels is currently entertaining audiences in a whole new way. The dating show arouses rumor and scandal as a gaggle of busty gals basically punch one another in the breast implant over who gets to date him. (And we use the word “date” very loosely here.)

Still, Love is glorious. The show’s trash factor makes it irresistible, while its popularity seems to have greatly helped Michaels ease back into the media spotlight. The intimate details he reveals in the show — about things like his debauched past and medical issues — also add a whole new dimension to the public perception of the man, because he comes off as cooler, sexier and funnier than you would expect. But mostly, the show serves to illustrate that Michaels is still, God love him, a lustful rock star to the core. In honor of his Valentine’s Day concert at the Bottleneck Blues Bar, we’ve dug up some classic Poison lyrics in hopes of getting you in the mood for makin’ love (or just straight-up doin’ it). Some of these lyrics are romantic, some of them are titillating and some of them are just plain obscene. We’ve also completely fabricated quotes from an imaginary conversation we had with Bret Michaels, in which he explains the meaning behind these bits of suggestive soft-core literotica.

Song: “Look What the Cat Dragged In”
Lyrics: “No tell, motel, hotel bed/If it wasn’t for the sunlight I’d swear I was dead/I got a girl on the left of me/A girl on the right/I know damn well I slept with both last night”
Bret Michaels might say:
“Oh yeah, I remember that night. I usually score with more than five babes a night, and that night I only banged these twins. Eh… it was just a Tuesday. I forgive myself.”

Song: “Talk Dirty to Me”
Lyrics: “‘Cause baby we’ll be at the drive-in/In the old man’s Ford/Behind the bushes/’Til I’m screamin’ for more/Down in the basement/Lock the cellar door/And, baby/Talk dirty to me”
Bret Michaels might say: “That is poetry. It’s truthful. It’s moving. It’s inspirational. And doesn’t it make you hot? I’m the Shakespeare of turning you on.”

Song: “Nothing But a Good Time”
Lyrics: “They say I spend all my money on women and wine/But I couldn’t tell you where I spent last night/I’m really sorry about the shape I’m in/I just like my fun every now and then”
Bret Michaels might say: “Chicks are always trying to change me! They don’t understand that I’ve just gotta ramble, y’know? Some babes just can’t handle how hard I must rock. I’ll tell them ‘Woman, you look good an’ all, but ease up off of my stick. I’m the man around here.’ After that, they know their place.”

Song: “I Want Action”
Lyrics: “Long legs and short skirts/These girls hit me where it hurts/I can’t wait to get my hands on them/I won’t give up until they give in/Now I’m not lookin’ for a love that lasts/I need a shot and I need it fast/If I can’t have her, I’ll take her and make her”
Bret Michaels might say:
“Uh, yeah. Man, that does sound a little creepy and aggressive. But girls just parade around like that and I get all worked up. Don’t they know who I am? I just told them I wanted action!”

Song: “Something to Believe In”
Lyrics: “I drive by the homeless sleeping on a cold dark street/Like bodies in an open grave/Underneath the broken old neon sign/That used to read JESUS SAVES”
Bret Michaels might say: “See? It’s not always about chicks! I have important things to say — this is social commentary. I do have a soul. But I gotta tell you, this soul mostly just wants to poke hot babes. D’ya know what those cold homeless guys need? A warm woman to cuddle up to on those dark nights. Trust me, going balls-deep will keep you warm.”

Song: “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
Lyrics: “We both lie silently still/In the dead of the night/Although we both lie close together/We feel miles apart inside”
Bret Michaels might say: “There’s a rumor this song is about the downside of dating a hot-ass stripper. People always think it’s some big analogy about love and life. Really, it’s just about flowers, man. Being a playa-playa I give out a lot of roses and, damn, those thorns are a bitch.”

Song: “I Hate Every Bone in Your Body But Mine”
Lyrics: “This chick’s got me so addicted/I hate her so much even though I wish she was my girl/I hate every bone in your body but mine/I can’t wait till I can hate you tonight”
Bret Michaels might say: “Gimme a break, people. I need attention down there. That ain’t no sock in my pants!”

7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 14. Bottleneck Blues Bar at Ameristar Casino, One Ameristar Boulevard, St. Charles. Sold out. 636-949-7777.

  • 02-13-08 Riverfront Times (St. Louis) – article link
  • 03-27-08 reprint in the Houston Press (Houston) – article link
  • Bret Michaels – website

Interview with Ian MacKaye of Fugazi

Ian MacKaye takes on new venues.
8:30 p.m. Monday, November 5. White Flag Projects, 4568 Manchester Avenue. $5. 314-531-3442.
By Jaime Lees
Published: October 31, 2007

On an Even(s) Keel
As the frontman of the legendary punk bands Fugazi and Minor Threat and co-founder of Dischord Records, Ian MacKaye has proven himself to be both a prolific songwriter and a keen businessman. He birthed the highly respected independent label nearly three decades ago and it has since grown to be the very nucleus of do-it-yourself punk-rock culture. MacKaye’s unwavering integrity and sincerity in the face of the shady corporate music business reveal his career path to be nothing short of inspirational. Viewed as the moral and dignified godfather of the hardcore and straight-edge scenes, MacKaye seems to start accidental revolutions by simply speaking his mind and doing his work.

With the much-missed Fugazi on indefinite hiatus, MacKaye has plenty of other projects to cultivate. In addition to speaking engagements, running the label and giving interviews, MacKaye is busy scheduling tour dates for his newest band, the Evens, a lo-fi (yet still intense) duo with Amy Farina, formerly of Washington D.C.’s the Warmers. Though the Evens could easily cash in their punk-royalty status in exchange for the best gigs in town, the band schedules the dates by itself and prefers to play small, non-traditional venues including art galleries, libraries and community centers.

Calling from Dischord House, the headquarters of his label, MacKaye is instantly likable. He seems smart, affable and warm. In conversation he’s quick, but not rude. Funny, though not sarcastic. In this and every other forum, it is clear that MacKaye takes what he does very seriously.

“I work really hard,” he says. “[Other] people, they punch out for the day and they go home. I never punch out. I’m never off the clock, in a way. The fact that I haven’t separated my work from myself — it has its pluses and it also has its negatives.” The lure, however, is clear. “I wake up every morning having something to do and wanting to do it.”

Aside from the advantage of keeping costs down for fans, MacKaye reveals another purpose in booking alternative venues: “So we can be liberated from the rock world, which is pretty constricting when you get right down to it. I mean, you think about the kind of venues or the kind of establishments where music can be presented, and ultimately it’s pretty limited and largely dictated by one of two industries, you know — and that’s the rock industry and the alcohol industry. And since we don’t feel beholden to either, then why not break free?”

When MacKaye is questioned about his constant work and touring, he pushes off any concern. “I like places, I like people! I like going somewhere. I like that fact that music is a point of gathering that can effectively work anywhere.” Here he further clarifies: “I guess I don’t feel ever burned out at all. I just feel fortunate to be able to go play music.” — Jaime Lees


  • 10-31-07 Riverfront Times (St. Louis) – article link
  • 11-01-07 reprint in the Pitch (Kansas City) – article link
  • 11-08-07 reprint in the Houston Press (Houston) – article link
  • 11-15-07 reprint in the Nashville Scene (Nashville) – article link
  • interview outtakes here
  • The Evens – website

Melt Banana

Melt Banana
7 p.m. Saturday, October 27. 2 Cents Plain, 1114 Olive Street.
By Jaime Lees
Published: October 24, 2007

Not everything that comes from Japan is cute. In fact, Melt Banana seems to be doing everything it can to deny the naturally adorable output of its birthplace. Formed fifteen years ago, the band remains uncompromising in its ability to mess with audiences’ preconceptions by gouging a Hello Kitty-shaped hole right through their eardrums. Employing the use of bass, guitar, theremin, computers and whatever the hell instrument makes that laser-zap sound, the noise band grinds screechy clamor against abrasive thumps with a dash of piercing dentist drill. But the effect is great: If you grit your teeth and listen long enough, you’ll realize the band is actually taking you on an artful journey that culminates in a semi-melodic loop of blissed-out frequencies.

  • 10-24-07 Riverfront Times (St. Louis) – article link
  • 11-29-07 reprint in the Houston Press (Houston) – article link
  • Melt Banana – website